Jan 31 - 314 - Catholic Pope St Silvester I begins his reign.
- 1627 - Spanish government goes bankrupt. - 1865 - Birthday: Henri Desgrange, French cyclist, founder of the Tour-de-France, born in Paris, France. - 1865 - USA: Congress passes the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in America. - 1868 - Birthday: Theodore William Richards, chemist (atomic weights, Nobel-1914) born in Germantown, Philadelphia. - 1884 - Birthday: Theodor Heuss, 1st President of Germany (Bundespräsident) born in Brackenheim, Germany.
- 1906 - Colombia: Shocked by the strongest instrumentally recorded earthquake (8.6 Richter). - 1924 - At the Chamonix Winter Olympics, Herma Szabo of Austria wins the ladies figure skating gold medal, only women's event at the Games. - 1943 - Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrenders to Soviet troops at Stalingrad. - 1946 - Yugoslavia becomes a federal republic & adopts new constitution. - 1953 - "Princess Victoria" capsized off Stanraer Scotland, 133 people died.
- 1953 - Hurricane-like winds flood Netherlands, drowning 1,835 people.
- 1956 - A. A. Milne, English author of the Winnie-the-Pooh books dies (age 74). - 1956 - Juscelino Kubitschek becomes 21st president of Brazil. - 1966 - USSR launches Luna 9 towards Moon. - 1968 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site. - 1971 - USA: Apollo 14 launched. - 1972 - Bir Bikram Shah Deva Mahendra, king of Nepal (1955-72), dies at 51 and Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev becomes 11th King of Nepal. - 1983 - In an attempt to reduce deaths due to car accidents, a new law in UK requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat-belts. - 1984 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site. - 1990 - 1st McDonalds in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow - 1995 - US President Bill Clinton authorizes a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy. - 1996 - Sri Lanka: 50 people died in a suicide bombing by separatist Tamil Tigers. - 1999 - "Family Guy" first airs on Fox. - 2000 - Alaska Airlines flight 261 crashes in Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 people aboard. - 2009 - Kenya: At least 113 people were killed and 200+ injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo. - 2013 - Mexico: 36 people were killed and 126 were injured in an explosion at Torre Ejecutiva Pemex. - 2015 - Italy: Sergio Mattarella becomes president. - 2020 - United Kingdom formally withdraws from the European Union.